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A Real Brew-Ha-Ha (Portland, Part 6)

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Welcome to another edition of Mastication Monologues!  Today is the penultimate installation of my Portland, Oregon adventures, and this post will finally touch on the craft brewing scene that Portland has to offer.

I met some new friends during one of the educational sessions on motivation in the classroom, and they seemed quite interested in inviting me out to dinner with them.  So after I had to do some schmoozing with some State Department representatives, I was on my way to Bridgeport Brewery located at 1313 NW Marshall Street Portland, OR 97209.  It was a bit of a pain for me to get there by the streetcar system, but it seemed to be no problem for the girls by car.  The exterior of the restaurant looked more like a Victorian factory where I half expected to find rows of women churning out textiles while small urchins scampered about fixing broken down weaving machines. IMG_2677 Thankfully, the interior is much classier than a sweatshop, and the service is quite cordial. IMG_2678 After roughly a 20 minutes wait, we were escorted to our table.  We started with some drinks which naturally were beers.  I first went for a pint of limited edition Old Knucklehead ($7) brewed at Bridgeport.IMG_2680  It’s a barley wine ale which is very aggressive in flavor initially but has a soft finish of oak, cherry, and a bit of vanilla.  I also tried their very rare cherry chocolate stout ($8) that also is brewed at the restaurant that lived up to it’s name.  Think Guinness mixed with a very hearty black forest cake.  Foodwise, they have all the basic gastropub foods like burgers, sandwiches, soups, and salads, but I wanted to try something different (go figure).  I looked down their “favorites” section of the menu, and I cast my bet with the chicken souvlaki ($10).  I know I could probably get much better back home in Chicago, but I decided to see the xeni (non-Greek people) take on this Mediterranean classic.  It came out with my beer, and it looked a lot better than the pasta and burgers people got. IMG_2679 The Greek dish was a solid meal.  The pita was warm and fluffy, and the tomatoes and lettuce were fresh.  The chicken pieces were succulent and not rubbery, a common pitfall for any chicken dish.  I personally think it could have used more tzatziki sauce and feta cheese, but it didn’t make that much of a difference.  The souvlaki also came with a side of vegetable couscous salad which was competently made but didn’t make me shout “Opa!”.

Overall, in regard to Bridgeport Brewery, I would follow the advice of my friend who is a native to Portland and was at dinner with us, “Come for the beer, stay for more beer.  Food is secondary or maybe tertiary in Portland gastropubs”.  Well put, sir.
Bridgeport Brewpub & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Live and Let Fry

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‘ello everyone!  I’m writing about British food today, so forgive the terrible accent I’m trying to convey through my lovely prose.  Anyway, national stereotypes aside (Warning:  I will use a lot of random British slang, so keep calm and carry on), welcome to another edition of Mastication Monologues!  As I just mentioned, today I will be talking about Battered Sole, an import all the way from Old Blighty that somehow landed in Seoul.  It’s located at Changcheon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea.  It’s pretty easy to get there.  Go to Sinchon station on the metro and come out exit 2.  Walk straight up the main street you see to your left until you see a McDonalds on your left hand side.  Make a left down that street and then walk straight until you see the restaurant on your left on the second floor.  You also can’t miss it with the Union Jacks fluttering over their walkway. Here’s their website.IMG_1299IMG_1288

So I’ve been wanting to try this place for the longest time after hearing rave reviews from my British (both Scottish and English) friends over here.  If there’s one thing the Scots know, it’s the quality of deep fried goods.  Plus, I have spent my fair share of time on the tea-drinking side of the Atlantic to sample some really good fish and chips or trying it stateside in New York City.  So it seemed only natural that I would enjoy a belated birthday celebration there.  Before we even walked into the place, we were greeted outside by one of the employees who introduced himself and asked us for memorable quotes for his welcome board.

Where the witty banter went down.

Where the witty banter went down.

I liked this place already just for the very English welcome of being very polite yet awkward yet fixated on witty wordplay.  Wonderful.  We walked in around 7 pm, and we had the place to ourselves more or less.  The decor was very kitchy in some senses with the Rolling Stones and Union Jacks everywhere, but it wasn’t overkill. IMG_1289IMG_1292 Looking at the prices, it was average prices for foreign fare in Korea.  Meredith and I got the battered cod and chips (or French fries for Amurkans) for 11,000 W.  I also threw caution to the wind and got a London Pride for 11,000 W which naturally jacked up for being an import.  They also have chicken wings, sausage and chips, and various sides if fish isn’t your bag.  The beer came out first, and as I expected it was a slightly hearty brown ale like many English beers.IMG_1290  It had slight caramel notes along with some bitter tastes throughout with a crisp aftertaste.  On a scale from pure rubbish to a ledge, it would probably be jolly good.  Finally the  star of the show made its appearance in front of me. IMG_1291 It was a substantial piece of fish that looked exquisite along with some freshly made chips nestled right next to it.  The fish portion of the duet was in harmony with my palate.  From its flaky white flesh to the thick and buttery breading, I was brought back to the East End in London the first time I had fish and chips in the homeland.  I also appreciated the lemon wedge, tartar sauce, and malt vinegar.  The tartar sauce was quite creamy but not as tangy as I’d like.  As for the chips, they were not super crispy but more savory and filled with the fry oil that I really enjoyed.  It wasn’t the most filling meal in the world since I have a big appetite, but it was extremely satisfying and worth it.

So if you’re looking to catch a great meal, Battered Sole is the place for you.

Sir Winston looks a little fishy...

Sir Winston looks a little fishy…

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